Have you ever found yourself wondering why you have to endure so many hardships?
Sometimes we look around and imagine that everyone is living their life problem free. They have enough money, plenty of friends, good health and a family that loves them. Isn’t that what everyone wants from this life?
Then we compare this to the reality of our own life. When we find it lacking it can affect our happiness, our contentment and even our faith.
Dunya is a Test
Whether we are aware of it or not, most people have problems. They may be big or small, but everyone battles with something.
Testing is according to one’s faith; the most severely tested among mankind are the Prophets, then the next best and the next best. (Al-Bukhari)
So you see, the stronger your faith, the harder your test. We only have to consider the trials and tribulations that the Prophets (peace be upon them) endured and ours pale into insignificance. They faced persecution, humiliation, isolation and even torture. These tests were also a reality for the earliest Believers in Makkah.
If you are reading this article online, then we can assume that you have been blessed with a certain degree of wealth, education and safety. By contrast, we need to take into account those Muslims who are currently enduring famine, war and open hostility. How do your problems measure up?
Test of Faith
Allah says in the Holy Quran:
Do people think once they say, “We believe,” that they will be left without being put to the test?” (29:2)
In English we have an expression “to put your money where your mouth is” and this is exactly what this verse is saying. Words alone are not enough, you will need to prove your faith.
I remember when I said my shahadah, someone told me that only the most sincere converts remain Muslim for longer than 6 months. This seemed very cynical to me at the time but I soon realized that there was, in fact, an element of truth in it.
When you are a new Muslim, or even returning to Islam, there are so many life changes that take place in a small matter of time. You need to learn to pray, you need to think about how you dress, you need to tell your family.
These are all huge tests. Those who are weak in their faith will become overwhelmed and give up. Others will keep on trying no matter how difficult things become.
Allah sees you and He knows your struggle. Nothing done for His sake is ever done in vain.
Hardship Removes Sin
Feeling worn out? Sins gone. Feeling unwell? Sins gone. Worried about something? Sins gone.
No fatigue, nor disease, nor anxiety, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Do you see how dearly your Lord wishes the best for you? He will use every little discomfort as an excuse to overlook your sins.
Have you ever had a bad day? Of course you have! While you may be cursing your bad luck that nothing is going your way, perhaps you could consider that Allah is sending these little inconveniences for your own good.
Allah is Al-Wadud, He is a Loving God. He is Ar-Rahman, the source of all mercy.
We were created to worship Him so our soul will never find contentment except when we acknowledge our Creator. The pain and hardship, whether that be great or small, is a nudge from Allah to remember Him.
Trials Bring You Closer to Allah
Let me share with you my own personal experience.
My heart was swollen with sorrow and there was no other way to relieve the pain than to simply make wudu, sit on my prayer mat and cry. No one on earth was able to soothe me or give me any answers that would ease the pain. Only Allah could do that.
So I sat and I cried.
At times, the sorrow would give way to anger; why was I being tested with this again? I was a young mother, I had recovered from cancer less than two years ago. Now it was back and it wasn’t going away. Stage 4 cancer, palliative chemotherapy, children who would eventually lose their mother.
Then I realized; outside, people were going about their perfect lives with their perfect health. And there I was, on my prayer mat, in front of Ar-Rahman. My illness would be a constant reminder of Allah, of the Hereafter and an opportunity to evaluate everything in my life.
Whenever My servants ask about Me, indeed, I am near. I respond to the call of the supplicant whenever he calls upon Me. (2:186)
I had been beckoned into His presence.
My troubles had brought me closer to Him, I was in His company, I was in front of Him. He is near.
Remember Me and I Will Remember You
Do we really grasp the enormity of the following verse from the Quran?
So remember Me; I will remember you. (2:152)
The One who created the Universe and who designed your very fingertips; He will remember you, if only you remember Him.
And if you neglect to remember Him? He will bring you back. Hardships, trials and tests make us acutely aware of our human frailty and our ultimate powerlessness to control very much around us.
So do not look at your difficulties as something to be detested but see them as a reminder to reflect upon your relationship with Allah.
When life brings you to your knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray.